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As part of the NextGenAM project, which started in 2017, Daimler set up a digitized production line for the production of aluminum parts together with aviation supplier Premium Aerotec and 3D printing specialist EOS . The four-laser EOS M 400-4 system for metal-based industrial 3D printing constitutes the heart of the line. A driverless transport system and robots ensure smooth part throughput. The system is controlled from a central, autonomous control station. It organizes the incoming order data by priority and assigns it to an AM system (additive manufacturing). Once the parts have been produced, the control station receives the quality reports. It also provides the data required to calculate a digital twin.

According to the partners involved, production costs were reduced by 50% during the pilot test compared with previous 3D printing systems. The project tested printing of a high-strength aluminum-magnesium-scandium alloy (Scalmalloy) for aircraft construction and a classic aluminum alloy (AlSi10Mg) for the automotive industry. The material properties of both alloys improved continuously in the course of the pilot project.